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Home > Archive: March, 2018

Archive for March, 2018

The Surest Path to Poverty

March 11th, 2018 at 02:58 pm

According to the Brookings Institute, the surest path to get out of poverty is to do 3 things. Finish high school, get a job, and get married before having babies. Well, yet another one of my nieces is setting herself on a course to never getting out of poverty. She is 18 and pregnant. I guess she had to do her sister, who was 19 when she got pregnant, one better. At least they finished high school. But being an unwed teenage mother means they are unlikely to ever dig themselves out of the hole they currently reside in. If one does it will be the younger, but considering how they were raised, I don't think so.

Niece 1 is now on her own, having recently left her boyfriend. Her only job is watching her older half-sister's kids. Niece 2 has a catering job that requires a lot of heavy lifting, so she likely won't be able to continue in that job after a few more months. They have decided to get an apartment together. Niece 2 may have to drop out of college.

These girls knew about and had access to birth control. Free birth control because of their income level. While accidents can happen, if you are using the condom with spermicide and the pill it is really, really unlikely unless you are extremely careless.

SIL's family is such a train wreck. These are the ones that got violent over the holidays and we refuse to do Christmas and Thanksgiving with now. I do not understand how DH and SIL could be raised by the same set of parents and one be stable and solid with good values and one be so far off the boards. I guess her daughters didn't really have a chance. Rotating men after she divorced their father and then when she finally did have a steady boyfriend he was a married man. And their father has kids all around the state with different women, none of which he married.

All I know is that when I watched my sister do something similarly stupid (get married at 19 and get pregnant immediately) I swore to myself I'd never let it happen to me. When she had to leave her abusive husband and come home with her first born child and dig herself out of poverty via welfare and Pell grants to the technical college, I swore I'd do everything in my power not to put myself in a situation like that where I would have to struggle financially for years. It was so hard for her, but she did do it. She had the support of the whole family, though, and these girls do not.

I cannot imagine being niece 2 and having watched her sister go through this, and being on her way through college, deciding that being careless about birth control could ever be a good idea. You learn through your sister's mistakes. You don't repeat them.

Maybe niece 2's boyfriend will stick around for a year or two. Maybe he'll even see it out. Or maybe he'll go the way of niece 1's boyfriend, with no job, refusing to grow up, playing video games all day, and smoking pot. My faith in this family's choices seems to indicate it will be the latter, although niece 2's boyfriend is quite a bit older so maybe he'll do right by the child.

It is one thing to be an older, established, single woman who decides to get pregnant. While I still think it is better to be married and raise a kid in a two parent household, if your finances are in order and your support system is in place, then that is a choice that is relatively valid to make, though I think it puts your kid at a disadvantage. When you do it as a teenager, it can take all of your future choices away from you and you may never get them back. And what kind of life will you be providing for your child?

I just get so frustrated. I've tried to help this family for years and I kept my judgments to myself to their faces. I'd rant on here from time to time, but I never let it show in real life. Now I've just given up on the whole lot of them. Not because of this, because of Thanksgiving. I just worry for the babies. They will have no stability in their lives. But what are you going to do? You can't live people's lives for them. You can't force them to make good choices. You can only watch or choose not to watch at all.

Payday Report + Haircut + Mom + Murphy + Food Waste

March 10th, 2018 at 05:13 pm

Well, I did it. I got my hair cut to my collarbone. It was a foot or so of hair taken off. I had it thinned and layered and the curls are just crazy bouncy now. I am very happy with it. I can't remember being this happy with a haircut in a couple of decades. It is easy to care for and simple to style, though it takes more time than just braiding it or putting it up in pony tail. It just looks so nice that I don't care if it takes me an extra 10 minutes to curl it around my face.

Mom is home from the hospital and doing very well. She is only taking Tylenol for the pain and hasn't needed anything else. She is getting around very well and able to do much for herself. I am so happy. This is way easier than the shoulder surgery or the knee surgery.

We had quite a lot of overtime on the paycheck yesterday. As quickly as it comes in it is gone.

$255.00 Tithe
_474.36 AMEX (in full)
__56.61 Garbage (2 months)
_876.93 BoA Visa (in full)
_124.75 BoA MC (in full)
1000.00 Citi Visa (not in full, but not due until 4/3)
$2782.65 Total Money Out

This is over the amount of the paycheck. Mom and MIL both reimbursed us for stuff we bought for them so we had an extra $310 in checking from that.

As for Murphy, DH got a flat tire. He got a piece of metal in the tire. He's down at the shop now seeing about the repair. I don't know how much it will cost or if it will cost anything. Tire shops are weird that way. Sometimes they fix flats for free, depending on how bad the damage is. I am hoping we won't have to get new tires. This is on his father's truck that we technically have inherited, but we haven't taken the title to it yet. MIL is going to pay off the loan on it when the life insurance money comes in, but it hasn't yet. After that, we will take ownership of it.

If we have to buy new tires we will buy them from Costco. Still the cheapest place for tires I've ever found and good quality ones, too. I have loved the ones they put on the van. They drive very well. But I sure hope that expense is not one we have to shell out for right now.

DD's bed broke. The box spring and the frame collapsed. It's an old bed, a hand me down from my mother. We can't afford a new bed now. MIL has a bed we can take, but it has to be excavated first. She has so much junk in that room. The bed is covered with it and the path to the bed is covered with it. FIL was a real pack rat and MIL still is.

So after the tire is repaired, DH and DS will take the truck out to MIL's and try to get the bed out.

DD's surgery is scheduled for the 9th of April. We have to have $300 paid before then. Her deductible is $500. She's met some of it, and will meet some more with the pre-op appointment so $300 is what they reckon will be left to meet. The doctor's portion of the surgery itself costs $5449, but we won't have to pay all of that. The surgery center is supposed to get me a quote on their portion. I don't know about the doctor who administers the anesthesia. I believe our out of pocket is capped at $3000 per person. It might be $5000, though.

We still haven't been able to get the HSA to issue a corrected form. I think at this point we are just going to put the proper amount on the taxes and keep our fingers crossed that no on notices that proper form isn't there. And if we ever have an HSA again, it won't be there because they really don't know how to pull their heads out and do their jobs.

Otherwise, still muddling along. Still thinking I need to make up a meal plan, but still not doing it. I ended up throwing out a lot of veg and leftovers this week and so I really need to get back on top of the food waste issue. I kind of really let things go for a couple of weeks. I need to not do that, because is just wastes so much money. Some went to the ducks, some to the compost, and few things had to be binned.

I have been watching a show this week called Eat Well for Less. It is British. I found a couple of episodes on youtube and a few others elsewhere. It's a really good show. It focuses on fixing a family's food budget. It deals with brand addiction, food waste, picky eating, shopping without checking the pantry and fridge first, everyone eating different meals instead of the same meal, all of that stuff.

I found it very informative. And it gave me the incentive I needed to try to get my act back together again. I've got all my veggies that were left after cleaning the fridge prepped and ready to go so that it can get used up this week and not wasted. I am going to plan my meals around that when I finally sit down and make my meal plan tonight.

I don't need to buy any meat this week. I may need to buy salad greens and bananas, but I may hold off on the bananas because we have plenty of oranges and apples. I'd like some blackberries, though. Oh, I've got some freeze-dried ones. Those will do nicely. We have freeze-dried bananas, too, if it comes to that.

You Can't Pick Your Family

March 6th, 2018 at 11:30 pm

Mom's surgery was today. She had to be at the hospital at 6:30 a.m. She had her hip replaced and while they were in there they repaired a torn tendon they hadn't known about, which means her recovery is going to be a lot slower than they thought. Which also means I am going to need you all to pray for strength for me, because yet again it is all going to fall on me.

My one sister hasn't even called to see how she is doing. The other one called, but only after my aunt called her to see how Mom was doing. She had forgotten today was Mom's surgery. She did say thank you for being on top of everything. I said somebody has to, and she said better you than me. I kind of wanted to reach through the phone and shake her.

Then I told her what room number Mom is in and she isn't even going to go up and visit her. She'll be in the hospital for two days, possibly three, but oh, well, she has a "weird life," and "stuff to do." My sisters are not helpful when it comes to Mom, but I've just come to expect it.

Anyway, she came out of recovery around 1:00 and while she looked really pale, she was talking, hungry and asking for food. Which they still hadn't brought when I left around 2:30. She had a couple of crackers and some juice at least, but they were supposed to bring her lunch.

When I got home I called my aunt and gave her an update and then posted on Facebook so my cousins would know she was doing okay. I don't know why my aunt didn't just call me as I gave her my phone number when Mom had the shoulder surgery several months back.

I will be going back up tomorrow morning for her physical therapy session. They will teach us how to do the exercises properly. Supposedly they will teach her how to go up stairs with a walker. That's the part I am worried about because there are five steps into the house. Once we get her in it should be okay, there are no more stairs she will need to use. My son will be with me when we actually bring her home, though. DH will be at work, but thankfully DS is strong at almost 18 (a week from it).

I just hope my diet survives the next few weeks. I've lost 19 pounds since the start of February and I really don't want to start stress eating or worse, binge eating, again. Mom makes me want to do both on a good day, but when she is recovering from surgery that increases ten fold.

I prepped a ton of veggies today so that at least when she comes home I will not have to worry about that part of meal prep and can just easily cook dinners. I did six bell peppers, 2 yellow onions, 4 red onions, 6 stalks of broccoli, and 1 head of cauliflower. Tomorrow I will do carrots, celery, radishes, cucumbers, and parsnips.

I really should make up a meal plan as well. I've been flying by the seat of my pants for the last two months, but planning will be necessary once Mom is home. I just wish I didn't have to make separate meals for her. But Mrs. Pickypants has never met an herb or spice she liked besides onion salt, garlic salt, salt, pepper, and Lawry's seasoned salt.

We eat a much larger variety of herbs and spices and nowhere near the amount of salts. Plus she doesn't like vegetables other than broccoli, caulifower, green beans, potatoes, and corn. And she won't want broccoli and cauliflower while she is unable to get to the bathroom quickly. So lots of bland meals, all meat and potatoes, really.

She wouldn't get TV dinners this time to help, either. For some reason she wants good healthy food cooked fresh now. She doesn't even do that for herself. She didn't want to do up any homemade freezer meals ahead of time, either. So basically it feels like she just wants to make as much work as possible for me. Well, it's not going to happen. I will cook enough food for 3 dinners in a row, 3 lunches in a row, and either my son or I will make breakfasts each day for her. And if she gets bored with it, well, what's she going to do, get up and cook herself?

I really, really hope when I am old and dependent on my children, that I will not be difficult about things. Of course, I would prepare and freeze most of my foods ahead of time if it was me and if medicare would pay for nursing home care for two weeks, I'd go, not put it all on my kids because I wanted to be at home instead.

I love my mother very much, but the whole situation just frustrates me to no end. My sisters, I am not happy with at all.


Payday Report

March 4th, 2018 at 07:32 pm

It was nice having a little extra money in the paycheck on Friday. I like it when DH has the opportunity to earn overtime, especially since such a large chunk of pretax money is used to pay for insurance. I haven't been very good about posting the payday reports this year, so I am going to try to get back to doing that every payday.

$1000.00 to Citi Visa
__176.65 Tithe
__500.00 March Utilities to Mom
___56.83 DH Life Insurance
___45.30 Me Life Insurance
$1778.78 Total Money Out

We spent slightly more than the paycheck, but there was $65 left in checking from the last paycheck.

I also got some reimbursement money from my mother for some stuff I picked up for her at Costco and then found a check in my purse from MIL from some stuff we picked up for her as well, so I got those in the bank of Friday. That was $310, but will go on the credit card, since we charge all expenses and then pay them off each month before interest hits.

I hope this coming Friday's pay will allow us to put a little into the emergency fund. It will have 26 hours of overtime on it.

Rambling Update

March 3rd, 2018 at 09:07 am

I know I am not posting a ton right now, but the push to get the last town storage unit cleared out had been ongoing. We had until February 28th to be out and it went down to the wire due to snow.

One of the only fun things about it has been finding all the loose coins. I've found another $3.24 in American money bringing that balance to $5.92 and another Canadian dollar, bringing that to $2.60 Canadian.

We will still have a lot to go through in our out of city units, but at least we will only be paying $225 going forward and not almost double that each month. With the amount of boxes in the out of city units to go through, I believe we will be able to eventually downsize to the one larger unit, which will be $125.

We will be able to wait for nice days now that the last city unit is done. Having to work in the snow or below freezing temps has not been fun. DH did finally find our wedding album and it is fine. I never meant for that album to end up in storage to begin with so it is nice to have it home again.

DH is getting overtime again. He got 10 hours for the week ending last Friday and he has worked both Saturday and Sunday as well, but those will be on the following paycheck. He may get 70 hours this week. All of the money will be helpful as the washing machine is not working right and we will have to get it repaired.

We have been jollying it along, using a hose to fill it, since it was agitating before the water would go in. Originally, it was only doing this at the start, but now it is doing it on the rinse cycle, which means stopping the machine and filling it again for the rinse cycle. Filling it once is bad enough, but having to fill it twice is beyond annoying and means you can't leave the house while using the machine and it wastes a lot of time in the day.

Hopefully there will be a little money left afterwards to go back into rebuilding the emergency fund. DH did get asked to do some safety training for unnamed oil company so he can be the project lead on a project for them. So that one starts after his current project ends and will mean an additional 2 months of work. Which should get him to the end of the six months contract through the job recruiter so that he can be hired on directly with this company or find another job without having to buy out the remainder of the contract.

I am glad he has more work coming, but living in a constant state of not knowing when he will have a secure job is taking its toll on my stress levels. Security has always been my number one issue in life and I really want it back. I don't want to have to worry from month to month if DH will still have a job. I know that a lot of people deal with this situation or worse because they have no emergency fund, but up until a couple of years ago we never had.

It has been tough to go from a life that was always secure to one that is not. It was awful to lose all of the money from our house down payment fund and most of our emergency fund and to be sitting here on the brink of not having an emergency fund at all. It has sucked to have medical emergency after medical emergency with limited or no insurance. I hate having to live like this. It screws with my head.

And just when it feels like we will have a little extra money again, the washing machine breaks and the sun roof on the mini-van starts leaking again. Once we get the money together, I am having the sun roof sealed, since they obviously can't fix it so it actually stays fixed. It will lower resale value, but by the time we sell this thing, it will be 20 years old, so I doubt it will have much resale value anyway. And the second sun roof will still work, anyway.

I won't buy a car with a sun roof again. We seldom used it when it worked because half the time the angle of the sun coming in would shine in the rear view mirror and blind the driver. And with working AC there was no real need for it. Even sitting in the car waiting for someone on a hot day, with the sun roof open, the sun just beat down on us. It just isn't worth it.

If it wasn't leaking into the seat belt holder it wouldn't be so bad, but every time I pull the seat belt out to use it when it has been raining it is soaked. It would have to be on the driver's side. Speaking of the seat belt holder, the other day when I took my seat belt off, it took my hair with it into the seat belt holder. Fortunately the kids were in the car and could pull it back out, because I couldn't move to do it.

So, it is time for a hair cut, I guess. Or I need to keep my hair in a braid when I'm driving. It's down to the bottom of my shoulder blades and it is starting to get caught under my arms when I put my arms down after having them raised. I am rolling over when I am sleeping to sometimes pull it as well if I don't sleep in a braid. I like having long hair, but geesh, it can be a pain sometimes.

I hate wearing a braid outside in the winter, though. It exposes my ears and the back of my neck and I chill so easily. It is long enough to donate if I decide to cut it to my shoulders, which will still keep my ears and the back of my neck warm, at least.

I have been considering getting it layered so it will work with my natural curl. It frizzes a lot when it is all one length and the weight pulls out a lot of the curl, but when it is layered it curls like crazy. It would also cut down on the heaviness since it is so thick. I probably should just bite the bullet and do it. I am getting too old for long hair, I think.

The last time my hair was this long I dithered for months and then got it cut so short I hated it. It wasn't an easy to care for cut, either, which is the main reason why I hated it. Plus it worked against my curls. I know if I layer it, I'd have to use product, which I don't care for much, but it would be nice to have a change. You can see why it takes me forever to decide, hmm? Seriously, does anyone else have this problem? I've been like this my whole life. Always wanting short hair when it was long and long hair when it was short.

Once I do get it cut, I'll make a decision on coloring then. I think most of what I will be left with will have heavy grey streaking. A lot of what is still auburn will be cut off, leaving mostly grey streaked auburn. They grey washes it out, though and makes it look duller. I am not one of those folks who can go blonde because it washes me out and the grey is doing the same. But I hate spending the time coloring my hair, even when it is my daughter applying it instead of me.

Well, enough time spent wasting my morning. I'm off to organize, toss, and donate. It will end some day.